Autumn, as you know, is hard upon us. Tragically, that means squirrel deaths are on the rise. This is their busy season, a time when every waking thought is about nuts and nut-related activities. The finding, the gathering, the hiding, the eating. Traffic safety doesn’t enter the equation.
Squirrels don’t look before crossing, they jaywalk like maniacs, they dart into traffic and change directions mid-stride. It’s a dangerous, dangerous time and we need to proceed with caution. Their frenetic, giddy lives hang in the balance. Trust me on this, you don’t want to nail a furry little dude running headlong for an acorn. The guilt and sorrow are a bitch.
I know this because I’m responsible for killing a squirrel. The aftermath was so horrific — tears and trauma and futile attempts to locate next of kin — I overcompensate to avoid repeating the experience. It took weeks, maybe months, to recover from that deeply scarring episode. So when I say overcompensate, I mean I swerve and veer and stop short when anything drifts into my path. A plastic bag, maybe, a leaf, anything that could, in a panic, be mistaken for a squirrel.
Cars behind me then slam on their brakes, horns blare, middle fingers are lifted, and I raise my hands in abject apology. I really don’t want to be a traffic hazard, but I don’t want to murder another animal, either. I’ll survive the justifiable road rage, but I can’t face the grieving and self-recriminations. I just can’t, they’re too terrible.
As a preventive measure, I apologize in advance for any and all erratic driving that may ensue between now and, say, December. Oh, Hell, let’s not put a time limit on it, between now and forever. Thank you and heh, heh, oopsy-daisy.
Please drive carefully.
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